News / USA

Defense Cuts Anger US Lawmakers

Defense Cuts Anger US Lawmakersi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2014 10:54 PM
Plans to shrink the United States military to levels not seen since World War II are not sitting well with many U.S. lawmakers. Some expressed their frustration and anger to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from Washington
Plans to shrink the United States military to levels not seen since World War II are not sitting well with many U.S. lawmakers.  Some expressed their frustration and anger to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  
With U.S. troops in Afghanistan, waiting to come home, anger is boiling over in Washington over the Defense Department's proposed budget cuts.  

Pointing to events in the Middle East and Ukraine, lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee challenged Hagel.

"This budget lacks a realistic assessment of the increased risks," said
Senator James Inhofe. "President Obama seems unwilling to accept that the tide of war is not receding."

Fellow Republican Senator John McCain was equally blunt.

"Your timing is exquisite. You're coming over here with a budget that we agree on, at least on the number, at a time when the world is probably more unsettled than it has been since the end of World War II," he said.

Hagel argued despite steep cuts, the proposed budget "matches resources to strategy."

"The events of the past week underscore the need for America's continued global engagement and leadership.  The president's defense budget reflects that reality," said Hagel.

Caps imposed by Congress are forcing the Pentagon to cut its budget to less than $500 billion, down about $200 billion from wartime highs.

To do that, officials propose reducing the number of Army troops from 520,000 to about 440,000 - the lowest since 1940.

And they're looking at eliminating older equipment like Cold War A-10 attack jets,  leaving what officials say would be a more modern force, better prepared to take on terrorists and more conventional forces.

It's all leaving lawmakers with a simple question.

"Does this preclude us from a full spectrum of operations?," asked Senator Jack Reed.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, admitted there are risks.

"One of those is the conventional fights, in particular land forces, which will take longer to generate," he said.

Hagel also warned against another $75 billion in cuts over the next two years under a budget deal struck by lawmakers last December.

"The result of sequestration level cuts would be a military that could not fulfill its defense strategy, putting at risk America's role as a guarantor of global security and ultimately its own security," he said.

The White House is proposing ways to free up additional funding for the military to help ease the pain, but it will be up to lawmakers to decide if and how that happens.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid